Review of Che Guevara's "Guerrilla Warfare"

Review of Che Guevara's "Guerrilla Warfare"

I just finished reading my copy of Che Guevara's Guerrilla Warfare — purchased by a fast talkin' hustler on the streets of Havana. 

It's a good book. He writes concisely about the situation. It's weirdly practical in that you can apply many lessons today without being in a pseudo-military, and also gets you thinking what's at stake when society breaks out into revolution. It's a dirty business.

It strikes a lucky blow and its fame grows... It repeats attacks, always fleeing afterwards...
— Che Guevara

Mr. Guevara describes the conditions for men in a guerrilla army. It sounds intense. The amount of discipline required is enviable — one which I daydream I'm capable of, but can hardly manage in real life once I close the book and start my day... 

Discipline must be one of the bases of action of the guerrilla force (this must be stressed again and again), which, as we have also said, should emanate from a carefully reasoned internal conviction; this produces an individual with inner discipline.
— Che Guevara

Mr. Guevara also talks about the role of women in an armed revolution in modern terms. He acknowledges there are different qualities women possess which would benefit a budding revolution in unique ways, but he states women absolutely can fight alongside men.

Women are capable of performing the most difficult tasks, of fighting beside men, and despite current belief, do not create conflicts of a sexual nature among the troops if a sufficient ideological and organizational base exists.
— Che Guevara

As a filmmaker, it's easy to abstract these principles of guerrilla warfare for the craft — especially if you're beginning from zero: no connections, no equipment, no resources.

Thinking strategically along the lines of a guerrilla war, you can begin to imagine: Where are the things I need? Where are the people? Where's the gear?

The triumph will always be achieved by a regular army, even though its origins were in a guerrilla army.
— Che Guevara

At which point you can wage a "psychological / propaganda" war on the vicinity of your objective until you begin winning the hearts & minds of the people.

Once you're on the inside, you can leverage one gain after the other until the next thing you know you're storming the palace (metaphorically, of course).

Therefore, the fundamental principle is that no battle, combat, or skirmish should be fought unless it can be won.
— Che Guevara

This is just one possible abstraction of Che's principles into the art world.

The truth is: Independent artists in America are a lot like guerrilla commanders.

Independent artists face tremendous obstacles & powerful interests from the beginning.

In order to break through the barrier of attention, one must "attack" the cultural landscape with a powerful pin-point accuracy.

The action cannot be for long, but must be rapid; it must be highly effective, last a few minutes, and be followed by an immediate withdrawal.
— Che Guevara

And that doesn't mean taking a shot anywhere: You've got to hit culture so it feels it.

Culture needs to drop everything & take notice.

Culture needs to realize there's a mystical force hiding in the mountains offering new freedom & meaning for all who join. Many will hate you & call you dirty rebel scum.

It's cool. It's not their revolution anyway. It's ours.

That sort of thing. See what I mean? Did you feel that? 😉

Once objectives have been fixed and analyzed, it is necessary to review the order of the steps leading to the achievement of the final objective.
— Che Guevara

Having a mental framework of a guerrilla commander instead of a lowly beginning artist puts you at a significant advantage. You now have a shot at succeeding without having to rely on luck.

Plus, a film set is organized a lot like a guerrilla unit. It functions on similar grounds. You have a leader banding a group predominantly on emotions, working quickly & efficiently to achieve an absurd goal — against all the odds.

Mr. Guevara talks about a lot of other details in the book, which could in this way:

For example, he clearly makes the case that success is not just about the what & where of attacking, but about having a back-up plan, defensive tactics, escape routes, supply chains, morale, recruitment, organization, etc.

...food supply; in this everyone from the last person to the chief must be treated alike...
— Che Guevara

It's a small book with big ideas.

I know Che Guevara is a controversial figure, especially in Miami... But despite Che's infamy, the notion of an insurgency / irregular warfare / guerrilla warfare is extremely important in the 21st Century. America has engaged with guerrilla outfits for many decades and this doesn't appear to be slowing down. 

The ideas of the revolution should be disseminated through whatever media is available,, as broadly as possible.
— Che Guevara

Military historian Max Boot actually made the comparison of America to Ancient Rome, in that during the height of Ancient Rome's supremacy the empire was constantly on-guard / fighting against barbarian insurgents / irregular armies — much like America today. Because of the nature of both nations, they face similar enemies. The barbarians eventually toppled the Romans, little by little. It doesn't have to be so with America: That's why we study Che.

The numerical inferiority of the guerrilla band makes it necessary that attacks are always carried out by surprise...
— Che Guevara
fidel 11.jpg

The army also predicts increased urbanization throughout the century will also increase rebellious insurgencies within these newly rising "mega-cities."

So, for all these reasons, I will be detailing ideas from this book over the next few days...

Conduct towards the civil population should be governed by great respect for all the customs and traditions of the people of the zone, in order to demonstrate effectively, through deeds, the moral superiority of the guerrilla fighter over the oppressing soldier.
— Che Guevara
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